As a total horror movie nerd, I have been obsessed with masks for quite some time. The video below shows 15 masks from various horror movies. I only had two problems with this video. The first is that Leatherface comes from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; they are not two separate entities. The second problem was that the video did not include the pig mask from Saw.
At any rate you might say my obsession with masks started when I saw Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween for the first time. The scene that grabbed me was in the beginning of the movie, 15 years after Michael's first kills as a child. In the scene you observe Michael's room in Smith's Grove Sanitarium.
This set always struck me as one of the coolest installations I had ever seen. The walls lined with individually made masks created by a mad psychopath cover the walls of the room and become as much of the focus as Michael himself. The set is the reason I began my horror related installations in the first place.
Notice that you never see Michael's actual face in the scene. He is completely obscured from the viewer at all times in Rob Zombie's film, with the exception of him as a child at the beginning of the movie. I believe it allows us to see humanity become automated psychopathy. I always thought that masks in horror movies were to both create an identity or brand for the killer, as well as, dehumanize them. This is one of the reasons I never found the original Friday the 13th frightening, only because you see the killer's face (Jason Vorhees mother).
Image courtesy of www.sodahead.com
Something like the image below of Jason Vorhees is far more effective. The mask not only branded the franchise, but each mask was individually copyrighted.
Image courtesy of http://images-cdn.moviepilot.com/
In this quick summary of Jason's masks you can see each individual mask in succession. Jason Vorhees-11 Looks of Terror.
Over the next few months I am going to be researching masks, their history, application, creation, and then I wanted to do my own series of both painted and sculptural masks. I will keep you all updated about my research.